Editor’s note: ‘Internet of Things potentially is “a game changer” for North Carolina and offers an “incredible opportunity,” say two executives who participated in an NSF-sponsored conference last week designed to help develop at “IoT Roadmap.” Matthew Davis, cofounder of NC RIoT, or the North Carolina Regional Internet of Things organization, and vice president of Reveal Mobile, reports for WRAL TechWire.

RALEIGH, N.C. – Last week the ASSIST Center at NC State partnered with the National Science Foundation and NC RIoT to deliver a powerful workshop: “Generating the IoT Roadmap”. WRAL Techwire published a preview piece peroviding much background.

In attendance were heavyweights from our local and state government, including Lt. Governor Dan Forest, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Pat Mitchell and State representative John Szoka. They sat alongside industry and academic leaders from SAS, IBM, ST Micro, Atmel and NC State to aid the NSF, and our state, in creating a cohesive Internet of Things roadmap.

I spoke with Tom Snyder and Larry Steffann to collect their top takeaways from the event. Tom serves as Industry Liaison for ASSIST, while Larry is the co-founder of NC RIoT and GM of the Wireless Research Center.

  • Tom, what was your take on the workshop?

A few elements really stuck out for me. The first is that we’re reshaping expectations. Representative Szoka twice shared his initial thinking that IoT was about connected toasters, but that he left realizing wearable medical devices and smart cities infrastructure are really impactful and important. Making sure our policy makers understand the true impact is critical to our future.

Once we gain more clarity and certainty on the economic benefits, we’ve got to train our workforce. NC State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is developing IoT based curriculum and labs, and will need industry engagement to strengthen the program.

We’re excited to be a part of this incredible opportunity. Even though the ASSIST Center focuses on healthcare, our vision is built on a flexible IoT core platform. This means that our research will lead directly to new companies and products across numerous industries.

Finally, the attendees, speakers, and panelists absolutely knocked it out of the park. It’s great seeing C-level executives roll up their sleeves and actively participate. We have an incredibly strong community here. We’re compiling everything that we worked on during the workshop and delivering to the National Science Foundation to plan next steps.

  • Larry, how was the workshop from your perspective?

I agree completely with Tom that the quality of attendees was excellent, the panels extremely informative, and that industry, academia, and government officials all left with a better understanding of IoT.

All of the activity we see at ASSIST and within the RIoT community will be a game changer for our state. We have to be cognisant and intentional about the impact we can have in rural locations. Everyone involved in digital health should be collaborating aggressively. We want to ensure that problems solved locally can be easily shared, spread, and replicated across North Carolina.

Attendees also shared consistent feedback that we have to push hard to involve multiple government agencies at the federal, state, and local level, while making sure the business community has a seat at the table. Even more important than that, make sure the end customers participate in the discussion. Our upcoming Global Cities Team Challenge project relies heavily on input from first responders.

I see a responsibility for the entire NC RIoT community. We must serve as the instrument that bridges the gap between opportunity and reality. Together, we help companies build solutions to specific problems by integrating design, manufacturing and implementation. This is the unique value of the North Carolina IoT ecosystem, which became extremely clear over the two day workshop.

If we can pull this off, and I fully believe we can, this will add huge long-term value and economic opportunity to our state.